第三十五计 THIRTY FIVE
lián huán jì
In important an decisive battles, one should apply several stratagems simultaneously in a chain of stratagems.
Different stratagems should operate in an overall scheme.
There is a risk however that if any one strategy fails, then the chain breaks and the whole scheme fails.
If you plan several parallel plans carefully, then if one fails, others will still keep you going.
In 284 BC the state of Yan attacked and conquered Qi. The remaining Qi forces under the command of Tien Tan fled to the city of Ji Mo.
Tien Tan had the women line the city walls and beg for a peaceful surrender while he sent gold and treasure collected from the city's wealthiest citizens to Yan's general with a note asking that the women and children be spared in return for the peaceful surrender of the city.
The general was convinced that the city was truly surrendering and thus allowed his troops to relax their guard. After this careful preparation Tien Tan felt the time was right to launch his counter attack.
First he had the citizens of the city gather with drums and cooking pots and instructed them that on a signal they were to make as much noise as they can.
He then had breaches made along the city walls from the inside.
Next, a herd of cattle was painted in weird patterns and knives and sickles tied to their horns, and torches tied to their tails.
Just before daylight three events occurred in rapid succession;
The citizens within the city created noise that startled the sleeping Yan troops.
At the same time the torches on the tails of the cattle were lit and they were released through the breaches in the wall. The enraged animals ran madly around the Yan camp, successfully killing stunned troops with their horns and setting fire to tents with their tails.
Finally, Qi's troops rushed out from the gates to attack the now terrified and confused troops.
Tien Tan defeated the Yan army and went on to take more than seventy cities.